The Difficulty Of Trusting Psychologists When You Have Mental Health Problems

Trigger warning: This post mentions the eating disorder behaviour of distorting your weight from professionals, so if that would trigger you then flee! Flee I say!

When I was younger, I was always taught not to trust someone who promises to give me sweets if I climb into the back of their van (unless of course those sweets involve any kind of combination of chocolate and peanut butter in which case who cares about potential kidnap, get in the damn van and don’t let those beauties drive away).
Unfortunately, somewhere in my brain as I have got older, “don’t trust strangers with sweets in a van” has morphed into “don’t trust psychologists” (regardless of whether or not they drive a van containing a portable candy heaven). Turns out however that when psychologists say they are going to do something and give you ultimatums, you should believe them.

Since coming out of hospital post “appendix explosion gate”, every week in my eating disorder appointments my psychologist has been telling me that I need to increase my intake in order to regain the weight I lost. To be fair, I have been trying, but a problem I have is that unless someone gives me specific deadlines for things I am scared to do, I will procrastinate until my arms fall off and tentacles grow in their place (not eight tentacles like an octopus though…that seems a little excessive…four is enough for me thanks.)

Every time my psychologist would tell me to increase I would hear her, try, but ultimately think “it is fine, she will just say the same next week and I will do it then”. Two Tuesdays ago though, my psychologist gave me a proper ultimatum with proper dates and deadlines by which I had to carry out her instructions. I was given one week to gain a certain amount of weight with the alternative being that I would be recalled back into hospital under the Mental Health Act. Seeing as how my brain works, you would think that this fairly clear statement would be easier to adhere to than the alternative casual “you need to eat more”, but still my head found ways to procrastinate, not because I wasn’t listening, but because I didn’t believe her. This was a mistake.

As much as I know I am mentally not very well at the moment in some aspects, physically I am finding it hard to see that there is a problem at all. Hearing threats and statements about my health that are designed to scare me, therefore make little sense. It is like telling someone over and over again that they are going to die of alcohol poisoning and that their liver is failing because of alcohol when they know that this can’t be the case because they haven’t touched a drop of liquor in their lives.

Back home I tried to increase but I was so scared of gaining weight that it didn’t go well, partly because I didn’t believe the “consequence” I was told about were I to fail to do so. Still, I didn’t want my psychologist to be disappointed or angry with me for failing her, so on the morning of weigh in I drank the weight I had needed to gain in water so that the scales would show the increase required and keep everyone happy. I hate “water-loading” before weigh in (aka the behaviour some people with eating disorders do whereby they drink a lot of water prior to weigh in to manipulate their weight on the scales and prevent therapists from knowing their true weight). It always freaks me out because even though I can know that I have just drunk water, whenever I see the number go up on the scales, my head will convince me that it is real weight and not just excess fluid swishing about in my bladder.

Thus I stepped on the scales prepared to be triggered, but somehow, it didn’t work, and I saw that I had not reached the goal set for me at all. Initially I didn’t really panic because I thought as always that my psychologist had been lying and that I could get out of it. I thought I could easily insist that I would just “meet the target” next week, but she hadn’t been lying and to my utter shock and horror, I couldn’t get out of it. What happened next? Well, considering I am writing this at a hospital desk in an inpatient eating disorder unit, I think you can guess. That’s right, that is the update this week, Born Without Marbles is back in the loony bin, and to be blunt, it sucks.

People keep saying things like “at least you know the place” and “you have done it before” but that doesn’t serve as much comfort because even though I know that, this time it feels different, so unnecessary and therefore scary. If you believe there is a physical problem it is easier to understand the need to take the medicine needed to cure it (in my case that medicine being “Food/general nosh”), but this all feels like one terrible mistake. I don’t need to be here and thus I do not need the medicine.

I am almost waiting for ward round on Tuesday where everyone discusses how things are going and for them all to turn around, apologise for the inconvenience and send me on my way.

The scales may say that I am under my CTO weight (a full explanation of the Mental Health Act and CTO’s can be found here: Demystifying The Mental Health Act…With Penguins, but basically a CTO is a legal document under which you are sectioned but allowed to live in the community as long as you adhere to certain conditions aka in my case, stay above a certain weight), but I don’t think I have actually lost any weight. I can read the scales and everything so I know that the number is lower but I am 100% sure that this is purely because I had my appendix removed and thus the weight of a whole organ has gone. If you chop someone’s arm off their weight is obviously going to go down but it doesn’t mean they have lost “weight” all over, it just means that there is some rude reckless person running around cutting people’s arms off.

I am so scared in here and I don’t know what to do. I am trying my very best to work with people and “listen to the professionals” but it is harder than I thought. Trusting them feels the same as trusting all those terrifying people with vans and sweets when I was a child (especially that particularly frightening lollipop obsessed child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…seriously if you ever need to teach kids that “don’t get into vans with sweets lesson” just show them that film and you will be sorted…of course they will also learn that cars can fly and that dressing up as a Jack in the box will get you through security at a royal palace, but I think the worth of the sweets lesson trumps the potential misinformation spread by the latter).

So yeah…Mental health awareness lesson of the week: trusting professionals with medical degrees and things who should technically know more than you is hard when you have mental health problems. Very hard.

Other than that, I don’t really know what to say today. I just want to go home. I feel I should write an extra good, extra long blog today considering I am in hospital and certainly have free time to write but the words won’t come. Maybe I should offer them some sweets as encouragement.
I am also struggling to keep this update upbeat rather than explode all over you, so I think I will sign off for now and hope that I am a little bit more coherent in the next post. Sorry.

Take care everyone x

ChildCatcher

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17 thoughts on “The Difficulty Of Trusting Psychologists When You Have Mental Health Problems

  1. Aww, boo. 😦 That sucks that you’re back there. I don’t think they made a mistake, though. And I’m also quite sure that the loss of an appendix is the “weight loss.” I don’t usually make comments about people’s bodies b/c I think it can trigger people or just upset them in general, but I admit that when I saw your video for the September Loneliness Tea Party, I worried about you very much when I could see your arms. It was quite scary, I’m sorry to say.

    I know that you want to believe you’re right and they’re wrong/not to be trusted, but I think your thinking is quite distorted around this, especially right now. And while it sucks to be under the control of others, right now you pretty much just have to do what they tell you and just play the game so you can get out, you know? “Fake it til you make it.” (Not “fake” as in manipulate your weight and do ED tricks, but follow the rules and do what you need to do to move on. This won’t last forever, but could take longer if you don’t cooperate.)

    Sorry to be so preachy! Honestly, it’s probably where you need to be right now, although I’m so sorry that that’s the case! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with everything here my lovely! They have not made a mistake, they are being wonderful and looking after you when you are unable and unwilling to do so yourself, and haven’t been able to for a long long time. No evil nasties in vans. I’ll see you soon xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is going to sound ridiculous but for some reason I find it easier to trust you than the professional people. It is weird, I think with professionals even though they “know” you there is still a degree of separation because there isn’t really a personal relationship and I find it hard to trust people without knowing them as a person rather than a name with the word Doctor in front of it.Thank you for giving me an alternative view/perspective to the one that my head is screaming at me. I don’t see it as preachy, I see it as honest. I may not be able to see or feel what you are saying but I am going to trust and try to believe you. Must keep keeping on I suppose! Thank you, hope you are well x

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  2. You do not have to keep upbeat! It’s a shit situation and you have every right to feel those feelings. Don’t put on a mask of all is Ok if it’s not. Struggling is OK. Really keeping my fingers crossed you can try and work with them. It can be SO difficult accepting the need to be there but they truly would not have given you a bed which is so scarce unless you were in real need. Try and trust the proccesss and trust them. It’s the best place for you but that doesn’t mean it sucks any less. I also used to hate when people said you knew it/had done it before. The first admission is no scarier than any after – they all bring their own challenges. Stay honest, stay hopeful and try and kick anorexia in the butt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • God you have no idea how helpful it is to hear that I don’t always have to be upbeat at times like this! I spent ages worrying about this blog and worrying that it would depress people but I couldn’t think of a fun jolly way to say “hey guys I am stuck in hospital hoorah!”. I mean maybe I could but it wouldn’t have been honest, I just so desperately want people to find comfort and support and ENJOY my blog and I fear that nobody can get that from a moaning myrtle. I promise I will follow your advice and just keep trying. Anorexia certainly deserves that kick in the butt you prescribed! Hope you are well and thank you for being lovely xxx

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      • People love your blog because you’re an incredibly talented writer and you’re also able to articulate ideas and feelings that I think a lot of people have but struggle to quite find the words for. There are ups and downs in every journey and I think people are just invested in supporting you. That means through the bad times too. Try and keep your chin up because this is an incredibly rubbish situation but try and hold out hope that there’s something better waiting around the corner x

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  3. I can totally understand this. I do struggle with trusting professionals. But I suppose you’ve been at the set weight at some point of your life (?). Did you feel super different or more unhappy than you are right now (or I mean before this hospital thing)?
    I was unhappy, so I lost weight and I was still unhappy (maybe even more). Then I was forced to gain. The main problem started when I reached the set weight. That was the point where I realized what happened. I started to see the weight I’d put on, I was unhappy. I relapsed then gained then lost then gained, lost … (I think you know this circle :/). But only recently I realized that I’m still unhappy with my weight. No matter how high or low it is. I’m still unhappy with the way I look. So does it matter if I’m unhappy at healthy weight or unhappy almost dying?
    This question led me to listen to my therapist and trust her a little bit more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! Someone who relates to me! I am not alone! You are very right in what you said about weight, I know I am unhappy now and I know that I also lost weight because I thought it would make me happy so I wasn’t happy before either. I know that ultimately whatever I weigh or look like I am not going to be happy or satisfied with it, it is just that my brain always tells me that I will be “more unhappy” at a higher weight and “less unhappy if I lose”. Funnily enough the last time I was truly truly happy in life was 2014 and I was a healthy weight at that point so it shows that weight is never the thing to bring fulfilment in life! I am definitely going to try and trust you and the professionals on this one. If I am not happy now, might as well be unhappy and healthy…yay for good choices! Thank you for being lovely and really hope you are well and keep trusting your therapist. They only want what is best or us…even if that is hard to believe! Much love xx

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  4. I know how you feel. When I was hospitalized I thought that was a mistake. I thought I wasn’t sick so why should be there. From the very first moment I stepped on that hospital until I was discharged, I denied everything. Only now (almost a year later) I can see how sick I was and how bad I needed treatment.
    Please, my lovely Katie trust them. I know it’s hard but you have to. I wasn’t going to comment on your appearance but you looked so ill on your last video…
    Stay safe ok? I, my mother and my cousin Nadia are sending you all of our love and strength! You have an army here in Portugal fighting right beside you!
    Love you to the moon and back ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! That is exactly how I feel at the moment! From the second I stepped onto the ward I also have been denying the need to be here and arguing with people. Yesterday was particularly bad as I tried to leave and the psychologist got very strict and it was horrible because I wasn’t allowed and I didn’t understand why. It all feels so unfair as childish as that sounds! I promise that I will keep trying and doing my best to stay safe. I just wish it could be easier. You are definitely a big help by sending all of your love and support though so thank you for that. Couldn’t do it without my Portuguese army by my side! Sending lots of love to you, Nadia and your mother. I will fight with the army of Portugal! Love you millions, kisses from England xxxx ❤

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      • The “for now” is the most important thing here – you might be unhappy at a dangerous weight, and you might be unhappy at a healthy weight, for now. But in terms of your life, overall, there’s no way you’re ever going to be happy at a really low weight because it’s physiologically impossible for your body to function well enough to lead a life that CAN be happy. But at a healthy weight, it’s possible. It doesn’t have to be now, or soon, but it gives you a chance. Way better to have that door open to you, somewhere down the line, so you can walk through it one day, than be in a room with all shut doors and no route to happiness at all. Keep going skatey Katie, we’re on your side. xxx

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      • Well trust a writer like you to come up with a flipping fantastic way to think about this! You should write books…seriously have you ever thought about working in publishing…I believe that your wisdom would sell overseas, just have a good feeling about it. Thank you so much for helping me to get this door image into my head, it is so much more comforting than the big black hole I feel I am falling into. It feels less scary, like you said, more like a chance. I may make this into a little motivational poster to put next to my place at the dining table. Thank you so much xxxx

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  5. Oh, I spotted a typo in my comment. I meant to say that the loss of your appendix is NOT the weight loss. Or something like that. I think you knew what I actually meant, though.

    Also, I totally agree with what others said here: you absolutely do not need to be upbeat in your blog! I think we all enjoy your blog very much, no matter what you write. There is no need to try to spin a crappy life event into a feel-good story. You know? You’re a great writer! Do not fret. 🙂

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  6. Please don’t feel the need to apologise for writing a post that isn’t upbeat. I would much rather read an honest post than one where you pretend everything is great. I’m also in an inpatient eating disorder unit at the moment so thinking of you and sending you hugs. I always enjoy reading your blog, upbeat or not! Xx

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    • Thank you so much for that reassurance! My brain always tries to convince me that everyone will hate me if I am not jolly! Really sorry to hear that you are in the same situation in hospital though…IT SUCKS DOESNT IT. Really hope that your admission isn’t a long one and that you are being well looked after. If you need anyone who understands you know where I am. Much love and empathy to you right now. Trust me I REALLY understand. Thinking of you and thank you for making me smile. You are lovely, remember that xxx

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